Press conference

Every word from Mikel's pre-West Ham presser

Ahead of the resumption of Premier League football following the World Cup break, Mikel Arteta faced the media in his pre-West Ham press conference.

Before our Boxing Day clash with the Hammers, he discussed a number of topics, including injury updates on his squad, the World Cup, his relationship with David Moyes and the upcoming January transfer window.

Here is everything he had to say:

on returning to action:

It’s been an unusual period obviously with the World Cup, but a period as well that we have used well to train on certain things that we needed to train, and to spend some time on certain players that haven’t been with their national teams. Now everybody is back apart from Saliba who’s going to be back tomorrow hopefully, so let’s crack on to the second part of the season which is going to be interesting and intense, and we’re really looking forward to it.


on recreating momentum:

We need to do that on the pitch. We have talked a lot about it, and we know the importance of starting strong again. We’re playing at home, it’s a very special day in the Premier League historically - a very special family day to play football. It’s an incredible atmosphere [on Boxing Day] and we want to make the most out of it.


on integrating players back into the squad:

They are in a really good place. Obviously, a huge blow with Gabriel Jesus and what happened in the World Cup with his injury and we’re going to miss him for a period of time. But the season has challenges. That’s a challenge that we have to overcome as well, but if you want to be at the top you know you are going to have to face those sorts of challenges.


on the other World Cup players:

They are all fine. They came in in good spirits, some of them came earlier than expected, but they were bursting to be back and be part of it. I feel really good energy around the place and they have got straight into the rhythm of what we want. We have a few days until Monday but we are good.


on whether everyone apart from Saliba is back:

Yes, they are all here.

on injury news:

With Gabby [Jesus] it's very difficult to put a timeframe [on his recovery]. it was a significant injury and knowing him, I prefer not to give any dates away. With Reiss unfortunately he picked up an injury in the game against Juventus and he is going to be out for a while I think. Emile is close, he is starting to train again. He had a little setback but he is in a good place.

on Reiss Nelson being out for a significant amount of time:

I’m talking about weeks. Not a matter of days but it will be out for a few weeks. Let's see how he reacts to the next few days but he felt something straight away, and with sprinters that's not a good sign.

on suggestions Jesus could be out until February:

No. I never gave a date so that’s not the words that I used, and I haven’t used any words right now. I said that we don’t know, it will take some time for sure. Obviously, he’s going through surgery so that’s the extent of the injury. We’ll be in the market, always active. That’s what I said and we’ll assess the biggest opportunities that we have.

on Jesus’ injury prompting more transfer activity:

We are going to be active, and active means always looking to strengthen the team. This squad still doesn't have the luxury of not maximizing every single window and we have to do that because it's really important. But then we want to get the right profile, the right player and a player that is really going to impact the team and take us to the next level.

on a new contract for Gabriel Martinelli:

No news. We’re extremely happy with him, and he had a great experience with the Brazilian national team. You can keep asking in the next few weeks!

on the impact David Moyes had on him as a player at Everton:

Huge impact. I’m so grateful first off for the trust he always showed in me, for how much I learned off him on the field, off the field, about building a team, and about getting the right characters in the team to build what you want. He was extremely supportive all the time and everything we did together, and I have incredible memories with him because we had a very successful time together.

on the test of facing West Ham:

Very dangerous. I know for sure [Moyes] has been working the team really hard since he took over. He absolutely maximized the potential of that team, and took them to a different level, and I’m sure they have been working really hard like we all have been in this period. It will be a very difficult contest. 

on what impressed him the most about our season so far:

Probably the level and consistency that we showed within that level, which with the group and the age we have is not easy. We showed real maturity in certain moments, especially against big opponents, and the focus is to play better every single day, to keep growing individually and collectively, and keep deserving to win matches. That’s all we can hope for; football is a very tricky game.

on adapting his coaching and management with the World Cup break:

We’ve done a lot of work on that, but I think the second part of the season is going to have very different periods - periods you have time to train, and other periods that matches are going to come very fast. We’re going to have big congested periods, and it is going to be very important how healthy the team is, how fit it is, and how much rotation can help you sustain the levels that we want.

on whether the January transfer window is a bigger challenge after the World Cup:

Probably, but we don’t know exactly. There are a lot of teams with new coaches, new owners, that are probably going to go into this window in a position that it’s never seen or experienced before, but we know that and we have to be active on it.

on keeping Emile Smith Rowe close to the group during his recovery:

We’ve done a lot of things with Emile - sometimes he’s been very close, sometimes he's been in different places to see different environments, but his attitude has been great. This is part of any career, any development to have periods when you are out, when you have long-term injuries, and he needs to react to that. He’s got all our support; he’s a huge talent that we need for the second part of the season at his best, because his contribution is going to be key to the team.

on what environments Smith Rowe has been in during his absence:

Different kinds of environments, different sports, and to places, to people that he could inspire, and can give him certain perspectives as well about his situation. I think he has taken a lot from it.

on his trip to the US to meet the owners:

We are always connected, and I think that relationship is getting stronger and stronger. They’ve been over many times, and we’ve been there a few times too, and it is a special relationship right now as we understand the way they think about sport, and hear what they’ve done in other sports and franchises. The ambition is there, and the alignment is certainly there as well, so it is very positive to spend time together.

on whether it was important to have that meeting ahead of the transfer window opening:

It was the time that we had, as it was spare time so it was very useful for everyone to do it in that period.

on Fulham’s reported interest in Cedric:

We know where we are in terms of the squad and the numbers that we have, so we’re going to be extremely cautious in what we do in this window.

on if William Saliba will be involved against West Ham:

Let’s see - that depends on how he comes back as well. We have the data of what he’s done in training, and in terms of the actual minutes he didn’t participate much but it was a huge experience for him as well. Let’s see - when he gets back we’ll make the decision.

on how much contact he’s had with William:

We have a lot of contact, but of course it’s different when he’s on the phone and when he’s present. Then we can talk to him directly and see how he is in training, see how he’s feeling, and get into the rhythm.

on the proposed changes to the Club World Cup:

At the moment I have no opinion. I think it is very raw and we are focussing on what we have to do today. I don’t think our opinion is going to help much anyway!

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